An Assembly committee heard testimony Thursday on legislation requiring compassionate care for rape victims. The bill requires hospitals to tell rape victims about emergency contraceptives and provide the drugs if a patient wants them.
State Representative Mark Pocan says only a third of Wisconsin hospitals are currently making that information available to emergency room patients. The Madison Democrat says that means many people in rural areas of the state may have to travel to different counties before they can have access to the pregnancy preventing drug.
Opponents of the bill have raised questions about mandating a specific treatment from doctors. Dr. James Linn, an obstetrician from Milwaukee, morally opposes contraceptives. He says the legislation forces doctors and institutions to do something that conflicts with their conscience.
Much of Thursday's debate centered around opposing views of when pregnancy begins, and whether the morning after pill can cause an abortion. Pocan says commonly accepted science supports using the drug. He says those against the use of drugs, such as Plan B, often base their objections on beliefs, not science.
The Senate already approved the legislation earlier this session. It's not known when an Assembly committee will take up the measure for a vote.